On Retaliation

With capital punishment being in the news lately, and some Christians futilely claiming that executing people is pro-life, certain things stand out in my various readings that I may have glossed over before. In a mid-second century letter (Ptolemy’s Letter to Flora), Ptolemy has this to say about exacting revenge and getting “just” retaliation at 5.4:

The second, which is interwoven with injustice, is that which applies to retaliation and repayment of those who have already committed a wrong, commanding us to pluck out an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and to retaliate fo murder with murder. This part is interwoven with injustice, for the one who is second to act unjustly still acts unjustly, differing only in the relative order in which he acts, and committing the very same act.

I think the sentiment speaks for itself.

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